The Role of Hypallage in Dickens’ Poetics of the City: The Unheimlich Voices of Martin Chuzzlewit

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


This chapter addresses the multi-layered meaning and the long-range power of hypallage as it defamiliarises the world and reveals the hidden truth of the city. Dickens is the creator of a powerful poetics of the city resting on the use of hypallage and synesthaesia. Martin Chuzzlewit resonates with strange noises and unheimlich voices such as the ‘rusty noise’ of a bolt, or the ‘mouldy sighs’ of a lattice in a London cellar. Representing sounds was a linguistic and literary challenge that Dickens was not afraid of referring to a noise as ‘rusty’ goes beyond the merely denotative or figurative functions of language since it conflates visual, auditory, and temporal properties, creating a ‘spot of time’ with its symbolic and proleptic functions.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université Paris Est CréteilCréteilFrance

Personalised recommendations